SCOTUS Opinion: Religious School Denied Relief From Governor’s Closure Order

On November 18, the Governor of Kentucky issued an order closing all K-12 schools through the start of the holiday break, December 18, with schools reopening on January 4, due to the ongoing pandemic. In Danville Christian Academy, Inc. v. Beshear, a religious school sued and sought a preliminary injunction against that order as applied to religious schools. The district court held that the order, which left many secular businesses open, was discriminatory against religion in violation of the First Amendment and entered the injunction, but the Sixth Circuit stayed the injunction.

The Court, in a 7-2 per curiam order, declined to reverse the Sixth Circuit since the period covered by the Governor’s order had practically expired. Justice Alito, joined by Justice Gorsuch, dissented, arguing that relief was appropriate because the timing was not the religious school’s fault. Justice Gorsuch, joined by Justice Alito, filed a separate dissent arguing that the Sixth Circuit did not use the proper standard of review, and a governor should not be able to evade review through short-term edicts.

A link to the decision is here: